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Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state and local advisories before scheduling trips. This post was updated August 4, 2020. 

There’s nothing better than a fun-filled summer road trip, speeding along with the windows rolled down, a playlist blasting as you motor along with your favorite peeps. Inevitably, you’re going to get hungry. You could hit one of America’s millions of fast food joints, or you could make your meal one to remember at one of these iconic local roadside pit stops. Food makes every travel experience better, so swing by one of these must-try roadside eateries for your next US road trip. Note: Due to COVID restrictions, most restaurants are currently open only for delivery, takeout or outdoor dining.

RELATED: 9 great road trip apps to amusement parks to visit this summer


#FRYDAY with a side of #lobsterroll at Red’s Eats #amazing _______________________________________________ Fried #scallops are so plump and sweet. Whole belly clams are fried to perfection in their light and flavorful beer batter And that mountain of lobster meat on a tiny bun makes this little shack worth the 1.5hr wait. The friendly staff and owner are the cherry on top #musteat #redseats #howisummer P.S. it’s on the 1000 places to see (eat) before you die _______________________________________________ #chubbyeatsMaine #chubbyeatstravel #lobster #howisummer #portlandmaine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #eeeeeats #eater #foodpic #foodgasm #foodphoto #foodporn #foodstagram #forkyeah #feastagram #dailyfoodfeed #roadside #seafood #lobstah #friedfood #clam #fries #delish #mmmmgood

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Red’s Eats: Maine

If you’re planning to spend time exploring New England, you’re in for a treat. Seafood’s the specialty in these parts, so we suggest a stop at Red’s Eats, which is known for its fresh catches. Whether you’re looking for a haddock sandwich, crab cakes or a lobster roll that will wow your tastebuds, you’ll find something amazing to enjoy here. Warning: You may have to wait in a long line—we promise it’s worth it.

Must-eat dish: Red’s lobster roll

Address: 41 Water Street, Wiscasset, ME

Mojo Tacos: Pennsylvania

The fun doesn’t stop in Connecticut. If you find yourself driving through Pennsylvania, don’t miss the tacos at Mojo. Technically a food truck, this taqueria on wheels stays parked along Route 11/15 in Duncannon, serving up flavorful tacos, burritos, enchiladas and salads.

Must-eat dish: Double taco

Address: 1911 State Road, Duncannon, PA

Galley Boy and fries I think j just gained 10 lbs. but yum! #swensons #montrose #galleyboy

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Swensons Drive In: Ohio

Next, make your way towards Ohio, where you have to check out this statewide chain. Here you can get your juicy burger, creamy milkshake and french fry fix. Since 1934, this has been a popular place to grab a burger while on the go. Try the signature Galley Boy, a double-cheeseburger with two unique sauces that comes topped with an olive.

Must-eat dish: Galley Boy

Address: Multiple Ohio locations

Cozy Dog Drive In: Illinois

This Route 66 drive in located in Illinois’ state capital is another essential food stop on your cross-country road trip. This is the birthplace of that classic state fair food we all know and love—the corndog! Cozy Dog has spent years perfecting the recipe for its signature dogs (just called Cozy Dogs here), which are rolled in cornmeal batter, fried and served on a stick. We dare you to mix and match and try it with a regular dog and a side of fries.

Must-Eat Dish: Cozy Dog

Address: 2935 S Sixth Street, Springfield, IL

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Blues Highway 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen: Missouri

While traveling famous Highway 61, also known as the Blues Highway, trade in those hunger pains for delicious Cajun and creole cuisines instead. Highway 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen is a favorite stop, offering a variety of amazing dishes: Smoked fried chicken, Mississippi catfish and St. Louis style spare ribs are just a few selections. They even have BBQ spaghetti—who knew?!

Must-Eat Dish: BBQ spaghetti

Address: 34 S Old Orchard Avenue, Webster Groves, MO

Avi’s Screamers Drive In: Arizona

Ever find yourself on the road, craving a burger loaded with unexpected toppings? If you find yourself with a grand appetite while cruising the Grand Canyon State, make sure you give Avi’s a try. Think classic favorites with a little extra twist. Menu items include offerings like the Green Chili Screamer Burger, the Salsa Burger and a Coconut Pineapple Shake. Also, their crispy tater tots are to die for!

Must-Eat Dish: Tater tots paired with a coconut pineapple shake

Address: 1151 W Wickenburg Way, Wickenburg, AZ


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John Mull’s Road Kill Grill: Nevada

They say whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but a visit to John Mull’s Road Kill Grill will have you talking! Here, you can enjoy a variety of barbecued meats served with filling side dishes that pair perfectly with the smoky flavors. The prices are very affordable and the servings are generous. You might have to wait in line a while at this hot-spot, but we’re pretty sure you’ll love it.

Must-Eat Dish: Pork ribs (don’t forget cornbread on the side!)

Address: 3730 Thom Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV


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Nong’s Khao Man Gai: Oregon

This Thai eatery in Portland, which started as one small food cart, now has multiple food carts and a restaurant location. It’s a sizable Thai-food empire, considering Nong’s Khao Man Gai owner Poonsukwattana left Bangkok for Portland in 2003 with only $70 and a suitcase. Her business has continued to grow as she serves up her classic Thai chicken dish known as Khao Man Gai, as well as other favorites. You can even buy her bottled sauces to take home.

Must-Eat Dish: Khao Man Gai

Address:  W 10th and Alder Street, Portland, Oregon (original food cart location)

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Tagged: Arizona, California, Las Vegas, Midwest, New England, Portland

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Natasha Gabrielle
Natasha is a freelance writer, blogger and traveler. After spending the last 2 years living and working in South Korea, she continues to travel the world and document her adventures at
Natasha Gabrielle

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One thought on “These 8 roadside eateries are why we love road trips”

  1. This is what I love on road trips. I love Red’s Eats and I want to try southern food on my way to Savannah GA. One of the best bonding I had with my daughter is when we eat in roadside eateries during our long trips. Our GA trip will be a long one because some of my friends told me if we want to enjoy Savannah, we should stay for at least a week. Good thing, I found a list of the best hotels in Savannah GA at Visit Savannah. I’ll just choose a kid-friendly one.

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